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Monday, December 14, 2009

david swann's 1st anniversary.

Yesterday marked the first year anniversary of Calgary-Mountain View MLA David Swann becoming leader of the Alberta Liberal Party and Leader of the Official Opposition in Alberta's Legislative Assembly. In the race to replace former leader Kevin Taft, Swann was selected on the first ballot with 2,468 votes, compared to 1,616 for Calgary-Currie MLA Dave Taylor and 491 votes for former Edmonton-McClung MLA Mo Elsalhy.

Swann is one of the most sincere MLAs that I have had the pleasure to meet, but since entering his current role his party has continued to struggle to define itself and has had difficulty creating messages that resonate with Albertans. Although Swann entered his role under the banner of internal party reform, the attempts at reform appear to have stalled. Media releases from the Official Opposition offices sometimes include aggressive quotes that I have a difficult time imaging coming out of gentle Swann's mouth, leading me to believe that he has yet to fully discover his voice in his role.

The Liberals appeared to have stalled after their narrow defeat in this year's Calgary-Glenmore by-election, but according to a recent poll, the party is tied with Premier Ed Stelmach's PCs at 25% province-wide and has second place support in Edmonton and Calgary.


Matt Grant said...

I have never pretended to be a wiz with numbers, but the poll result from Angus don't seem to particularly suggest Swann is stuck.

Angus in December, Libs at 25%
Environics in Late October, Libs at 20%

Polling 1/4 instead of 1/5 is something. As a Liberal, I certainly wasn't dancing in the streets after those numbers, but it's upward movement greater than the margin of error.

Anonymous said...

A quarter of the electorate - the same as the governing party - and the Liberals have stalled?

Between their drastically improved financial outlook and a solid base in the polls how can you say they've stalled out? What did Taft poll before elections?

Heck, I bet they'd be in the 30s if they'd elected Dave Taylor, but I still don't think they've got a lot to feel that bad about.

Anonymous said...

Swann is a nice guy but the Liberals are destined for obscurity. They are 1% below the 2008 vote when they got 9 seats. Only 4000 people voted in their leadership race.

Anonymous said...

Of course, the Liberals are doing better than when Daveberta worked there and thought the Libs were cruising to an unwarranted victory.

Guess what? Two years out. Strong numbers for the interelection years. If money really is coming in, the Liberals are in good shape to weather the storm:

The Wildrose Alliance seems to be pulling exclusively from the PCs and the Grit base is strong.

Anonymous said...

I was reading the comments in Graham Thompson's blog and was suprised to see a comment comparing David to Peter Lougheed. I did not get the comparison but after thinking about it I do now.

daveberta said...

Matt - 1/4 is certainly more than 1/5, and there are two years until the next election. The 'stalled' comment was directed toward a common trend in the Liberal Party in general. Their vote has consistently declined by almost 59,000 votes since 1997. I was a believer at one point, but I don't see any evidence that much has changed (but I have no problem being proved wrong).

As for the financial situation, the annual fundraising numbers are due on March 31.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the spammer. David Swann HAS been a pretty lacklustre leader.

But then again, I supported Dave Taylor. Didn't you support him? How do you feel about that with the benefit of hindsight?

Alvin Finkel said...

David Swann is a saint in an unsaintly business. He is something of a Tommy Douglas but without the charisma and perhaps without the fully supportive party behind him. If he was living in any of the other 4 Western provinces, he would be in the NDP caucus and so would about half of his caucus, perhaps more. But in Alberta, it only makes sense to work for the NDP in certain pockets of the province, and Calgary is not one of them.

I think that his clear liberalism has allowed the Liberal party to hold onto its existing vote rather than lose some of it to Wild Rose, which picks up both conservative votes and votes of the frustrated but not informed. The NDP is similarly at about the same level of public support that it was at in the last election. But it is unclear whether Swann and the Liberals can persuade many of the remaining Conservatives to come their way rather than the WR way as the Conservative party implodes (if it indeed does implode).

Both of these parties (Liberals and NDP) face the dilemma that they look like losers (well, why skirt the obvious--they ARE losers)and therefore have difficulty getting support from marginal voters who may not like the Tories but are looking to support a potential winner. They have to figure out how to sink their differences and work together to create something new--the DRP argues for a coalition and some people are arguing for a merger--or risk further fragmentation on the centre-left from the Renew Party.

I still hope it can be avoided but my prediction is that Wild Rose will win the next election by a landslide and that the centre-left will continue to have no influence on government policy for another generation. It's mostly our own fault however. We don't accept that this is a conservative province and that doing what progressives in other provinces do--splitting their vote because that can still result in a progressive government, at least on occasion--will never work in Alberta.

Anonymous said...

*****BEAT BEAT BEAT*******

For Christ's sakes Finkel, leave that dead horse alone!

The real loser here is the aging professor who is bitter and cynical that his generation FAILED to elect the effing NDP...

I suspect that future generations will do better. Renew Alberta? We'll try.

Anonymous said...

Those polls are cooked. How do you trust a pollster with ties to the Wildrose Alliance?